Bagara baingan


From one of the easiest Indian recipes, to one of the most tedious!  However, the effort is fully worth the payoff, as always, making more makes it better.

She claims to have made some changes to accomadate her laziness — hilarious!  It takes easily 45 minutes to fry the onion, to the point where the oil “floats to the surface,” as she says, though it’s more like, oozes free when the masala pauses for a moment’s rest.


Thirty minutes in, there was no oil to be seen!  However, after roasting and frying for an hour, the rest is very simple!   Just add water and bagala and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Putting this together was put off repeatedly, and extensively on Sunday, as Will tackled the giant pile of snow in front of the house, helping to create two sled runs and a snow cave.  The longest slide went about 100 meters — with a little help…  Once that target had been reached, we took to sledding, each, down separate runs with the intent to collide in the middle of the street — fabulous fun!  Also, one of many reasons none of the neighbors will talk to us.

But it was also the perfect precedent for this belaborous process — finally kicking to it about 8thirty pm, suddenly alarmed to find a need for coconut, reprieved, remembering half of one remained after making last week’s dal.

It was also uncovered — as we looked for a new sieve at the store, as the last one was broken, pressing through tamarind — that we own a ricer.  These were designed to press Tamarind — Tamarind:  Seedless tamarind is not seedless, and contains seeds, twigs, fur, small bunnies and fingers.  To properly use tamarind, you have to — first — soak it in hot water, slightly broken up, then press the flesh through a sieve or, in our case now, a ricer.  If you take seedless tamarind at its word, your mysore rasam will leave you sore.

The ricer worked nicer than the sieve, simply for expediency and not breaking.  The process went without a hitch until cleaning.  Cleaning tamarind from a ricer is a hitch, but one worth the effort.  Bagara baingan is about effort.

Throughout the evening — you see, there was a pause between pressing and proceeding:  For dinner — the young’uns questioned the piled plate, spackled with tamarind on the counter, and inappropriate humor ensued.

One more thing about tamarind:  When Dassana says, use a lemon sized amount — this does not mean the big beefy, orange sized lemons that sparkle their thick skin on the supermarket bins.  More like, the size of a normal lime.  There is, in fact, such a thing as too much tamarind — such as the first iteration of mysore rasam, which, of course, also suffered as it wasn’t strained.  These things are not always mentioned within a recipe, but they are things to keep in mind.

This baingan was bangin’, as other people would sometimes say back in the ’80’s.  Just the right amount of sour, and perfect spice, excellent texture.  This’ll be more semi than most semicogent’s, simply because of the time factor, but not to be forgotten!




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